by Diane Malone
5th May 2008renee fleming digonis

  The show must go on, and so does all the players that help create the show. That is the goal of the Actors Fund, helping all the performers in the arts go on when situations develop that affects their being and survival. This nonprofit organization, founded in 1882, provides a vast array of services and programs that are guided towards divisions of the Arts to do just that. The annual Actors Fund Gala honors the outstanding members of the Arts for both their extraordinary careers and art advocacy. This years Gala was held at the landmark banquet hall, Cipriani’s at 42nd street.


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  On May 5th, the Actors Fund honored four colleagues that not only achieved distinguished success in their fields but also honor the Actors Fund mission with their contributions towards the Arts. These individuals were opera sensation Renee Fleming, Alec Baldwin, Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane. 
  Alec Baldwin received the Nedda Harrigan Logan Award for his extraordinary career and “generosity of spirit” in the many causes he supports. Alec Baldwin has been a steadfast supporter for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, the Bay Street Theatre, the PETA organization, Performing Animal Welfare Society, and serves on the Board of Directors for several performing arts organizations such as the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Dean’s Council. His award-winning career has included films, theater, and television as well as his own production company, El Dorado Pictures, which has produced award-winning films.  

stewart lane bonnie comley digonis  Honorees Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley brought their five children to the event. The tony award-winning husband-wife producing team and theater owners have also won 5 tonys between the two of them, four to Mr. Lane, one for Mrs. Comley. The charitable team have given back to the theater community in their continued support of the performing arts. They have created scholarship funds and supported the arts at various high schools, colleges and universities.  Many schools have used Mr. Lane’s book, Let’s Put On A Show!: Theater Production for Novices, for teaching purposes. The couple received the Actors Fund Medal of Honor.

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  The evening included a musical tribute to international opera sensation Renee Fleming from her fellow colleagues at the Metropolitan Opera, soprano Lisette Oropesa and baritone David McFerrin. Renee Fleming was honored both for her fabulous operatic career as well as her work in arts advocacy. She received the Lee Strasberg Artistic Achievement Award. Renee Fleming serves on the board for both the Carnegie Hall Corporation and the White Nights Foundation of America. The Grammy-Award winning artist was noted to be “one of the finest American singers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries” incorporating a wide range of musical styles. renee fleming anna strasberg digonis
  Among the attendees were Leslie Uggams, Patrick Stewart, Kerry Butler, Bebe Neuwirth, the Honorable Rudolph Giuliani, Megan Mullally, Sierra Boggess, BD Wong, Kate Shindle, Jenna Russell, Daniel Evans, Faith Prince, Scott Ellis, Tony LoBianco, Dee Hoty, Dina Merrill, Norm Lewis, and Anna Strasberg.

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         All Photos: (c) Caroline P. Digonis 2008